WASHINGTON – The Trump administration on Thursday designated as global terrorists six individuals accused of supporting the Taliban and Haqqani network in Afghanistan, and stressed their links to Pakistan.
They include senior members of the former Taliban government in Afghanistan, including former central bank governor Abdul Samad Sani, and others said to have been part of Taliban leadership councils in Pakistan who provided financing and weapons for militants involved in attacks on U.S.-led coalition forces.
Senior Treasury Department official Sigal Mandelker said the sanctions support President Donald Trump's strategy in South Asia by disrupting "terrorist" organizations and publicly exposing individuals who facilitate them. Those blacklisted are forbidden to hold U.S. property, and those in the U.S. are prohibited from dealing with them.
Trump's policy, unveiled last summer, is intended to turn around the 17-year war in Afghanistan by boosting the U.S. military's help to Afghan government forces and by pressuring neighboring Pakistan to cooperate.
"The Pakistani government must work with us to deny the Taliban and the Haqqani network sanctuary and to aggressively target their terrorist fundraising," Mandelker, the undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.
Often fractious U.S.-Pakistan relations have already been roiled by Trump's suspension of around $1.2 billion in security assistance and his accusations of Pakistani "lies and deceit" on combating militancy.
Pakistan contends that its counterterrorism efforts have been unappreciated, and that most leaders of the Haqqani network have fled to Afghanistan.
The blacklisted individuals also include:
—Abdul Qadeer Basir Abdul Baseer, said to have led the finance commission of the Taliban leadership shura, or council, in the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar. He is alleged to have provided tens of thousands of dollars for Taliban attacks in Afghanistan's Kunar province last fall.
—Hafiz Mohammed Popalzai, said to have served for several years on the Taliban Finance Commission and been in charge of the Taliban's finances for southern and western Afghanistan. He's alleged to have passed on 10 million euros paid to the Taliban for the release of hostages in mid-2011 to the finance commission's leader in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta. The Treasury statement does not identify the hostages.
—Maulawi Inayatullah, said to be a Taliban military affairs member in charge of multiple Afghan provinces, and a member of the Taliban Peshawar Shura.
—Faqir Muhammad and Gula Khan Hamidi, said to have acted for the Haqqani network.